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100s Demonstrate Overlooking Military Prison

100s Demonstrate Overlooking Military Prison

Hundreds demonstrate on hill overlooking Military Prison-6 [] For Sharon's Israel, peace is the biggest danger - Avnery's weekly [] How to keep Vanunu from telling what everybody knows

[] Hundreds demonstrate on hill overlooking Military Prison-6

Climbing the mountain opposite Military Prison 6 at Atlit, from where protesters could be visible (and audible) inside the prison, is a tradition going back to the time of Lebanon War - before many of today's refusniks were born. But last week's verdict condemning five young people to spend a whole year behind these grey prison walls there gave today's protest a feeling of special urgency, and quite a few people had come who were not seen at the mountain before. The call of Yesh Gvul and the Refusnik Parents' Forum was joined by ourselves of Gush Shalom as well as Courage to Refuse and Ta'ayush. Altogether, hundreds of people - among them two Knesset Members, Barake and Makhoul - traveled hours in order to climb the rocky slopes, now slippery with the past few days' rainfall.

Among the crowd were parents and grandparents and siblings and some girlfriends of the prisoners. Dr. Gadi Elgazi was there, who was sentenced to a year back in 1981 and got pardoned after half a year of intensive campaigning. And quite a few refusnik prisoners from more recent years. Yoni Ben Artzi had come - set free just a few days ago after a year and half behind bars, with the military authorities apparently about to grant him the long-denied CO status. If army intended to create a split in the refusers' ranks by making this gesture at the same time that the Five were dealt with so harshly, it failed - Ben Artzi was warmly greeted and congratulated.

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There were also quite a few potential prisoners, on whom the next steps in the struggle may depend. Many signatories of the Shministim (highschool seniors) letter of refusal were there. Some of them, scheduled for conscription within a few months, were especially indignant and defiant: "The judges wanted to frighten us by imposing such a long term on the Five. Well, we are not frightened of prison, they will soon see we're not!". This was followed by the familiar strains of "No thank you, Mr. Sharon/Go yourself to Hebron/damn your schemes all to Hell/off we go to prison cell". "Stop - Apartheid Ahead" was the big banner of Yesh Gvul, and Courage to Refuse had "Refusal to the Occupation is Zionism". And there were smaller, hand-painted signs: "Long live the refusers", "We are all refusers", "Release the refusers - imprison the ministers!". A big rainbow flag fluttered above, with the big word "Pace" - Italian for "Peace". "These flags were all over Europe during the Iraq War and later, we should have some here too" said the activist who brought it. An excited shout on the megaphone: "Look at the guard tower on the right, and the white shack near it! There are people waving over there, four or five!" Were they our five? And then, waving from another part of the prison complex, identified by a former prisoner as the officers' enclosure. That might have been reserve Captain Dan Tamir, imprisoned for refusal to go to the West Bank. (Except for the famous Five, there are six reservists in the military prison, on terms of 28 or 35 days each). "I know how it feels to be in there and see a demonstration up here on the mountain. I know what a wonderful warm feeling of support it gives" said Yigal Rosenberg, who spent several months at prison 6 in 2002. "The military court imposed a whole year's imprisonment on the five who refused to take part in occupation and oppression. Soldiers who shot unarmed Palestinians to death got a suspended sentence - if they were prosecuted at all. Those who killed a five-year old child at Nablus last week were not even investigated, much less punished" said Yishai Menuchin of Yesh Gvul. "The army hopes that after the immediate media upsurge, these five young people will be forgotten behind the prison wall. We will not let them be forgotten, we will maintain an ongoing campaign in the country and all over the world, we will not give the military and civil authorities a moment of rest " said Alex Ma'or, father of the imprisoned Adam Ma'or; he also called upon those present to keep up to date on the struggle by regularly visiting the new website - - of the Refusers' Parents Forum

*** [] For Sharon's Israel, peace is the biggest danger - Avnery's weekly

Uri Avnery 10/1/04 A Fox called Lion

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You really can't rely on these Arabs. Take this fellow, Qaddafi. For decades he played the clown. The whole world laughed at him (except when he downed a French plane in Chad and the Pan-Am jet over Lockerbie.) His Libya was a "rogue state", an international pariah. He was working on Weapons of Mass Destruction. The Americans hated him, and from time to time bombed him, killing his daughter on one such occasions. You could rely on good old Qaddafi. He supplied us with an alibi for producing all kinds of interesting weapons. Everybody understood that with such people around, Israel needs the doomsday weapon, and that it's useless to talk about peace. And then, suddenly… Suddenly Qaddafi becomes the darling of the world. Look at him, in his Bedouin robes: a serious man, a sober and pragmatic statesman. Pays a fortune to the families of the victims in the planes he has downed. Invites the Americans along to see for themselves how he destroys his stock of WMD. Flatters President Bush. Makes advances to Israel. Tomorrow - God forbid! - he may invite Bush to mediate between himself and his dear colleague, Ariel Sharon. If Bush starts to pamper Qaddafi, he will coddle Sharon less. He might get the idea that Israel, too, get rid of its Weapons of Mass Destruction. Perish the thought! Or take Iran. Well, they aren't really Arabs, but they are Muslims, and all Muslims are the same, aren't they? Anti-Semites. Israel-haters. Plotting to destroy us. One used to be able to rely on Iran. There is always somebody there shouting "Death to America! Death to Israel!" They are trying to produce nuclear bombs. They vow to bury the Great Satan together with the Small Satan (us). True, we did sell them some arms, quite quietly, with American blessing (see: Irangate), but that doesn't count. President Bush even included them in his "Axis of Evil". We were hoping that after the occupation of Iraq, the Americans would deal with them. Between Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran sits like an almond between the jaws of a nutcracker. And then, suddenly… Suddenly Iran is dripping honey. They thank the Americans for the generous assistance sent to the victims of the big earthquake. They invite international inspectors to check their nuclear installations. And the Americans - who can believe it? - let themselves be seduced. They emit conciliatory noises. And there are already some people who expect us to behave like Libya and Iran, to open our nuclear installations to inspection. Perish the thought! But all this is nothing compared to Syria. If there was one Arab nation you could rely on without reservation it was the Syrians. Born Israel-haters. Tough. Uncompromising. Stockpiling chemical and biological weapons. True, they respect the cease-fire line with Israel, but they use the Hizbollah against us instead. And they play host to the headquarters of the militant Palestinian organizations in Damascus. The Bush administration has officially labeled Syria a terrorist state. It has targeted them. Our friends in the Pentagon, Wolfowitz and the other Neo-Zionists, promised us that Syria would be the next candidate for an American invasion, right after Iraq. Our good friends, the Turks, were also to join in the party. After all, they have had an ongoing quarrel with Syria since the late 1930s, when the French (who controlled Syria at the time) gave them the Syrian Alexandretta region. And this conflict deepened even more when Syria began supporting the Kurdish revolt in Turkey and demanded a bigger share of the Euphrates water. And now, suddenly… Suddenly this youngster, Bashar, changes direction overnight. Suddenly al-Assad ("the Lion") turns into al-Taleb ("the Fox"). Says he wants peace. Wants to help the Americans. Invites Israel to renew negotiations. Visits Turkey and forges an alliance with them against Kurdish independence in northern Iraq. That is dangerous. Terribly dangerous. The American might pressure us to make peace with Syria and give the Golan back to them. True, up to now, the Americans have reacted coolly to the Syrian overtures, but that may change. As the American elections draw nearer, and Bush's adversaries increasingly paint the Iraq war as one big fiasco, Bush will be keen to demonstrate that the war was actually an enormous success. To wit: It has created a New Middle East (alas, without Shimon Peres). The wicked states, Iran, Syria and Libya, have forsaken their bad old ways and are basking in the Pax Americana. All the Weapons of Mass Destruction in the region have been abolished, except for Israel's. No wonder the Sharon government is in a dilemma. They are doing what they can to foil this plot. They publish Qaddafi's overtures, so as to embarrass him into denying them. They reject Assad's peace stratagem. "Don't run and jump!" Sharon admonished his ministers this week, commanding them not to get excited about it. Assad is not serious. He only wants to suck up to the Americans. He wants to use us in order to reach Bush. For him, Israel is only "a stair of the White House", as Sharon put it. Defeatists might say: let's seize the opportunity. Assad is weak? Assad is afraid? Assad want to appease the Americans? All the better, that is the opportunity to make peace. What have we got to lose? If Assad is serious, we can put an end to our conflict with a dangerous enemy. And if he isn't, we will unmask him. (The same defeatists proposed in 1972, too, that we should accept the peace offers sent by Anwar Sadat via the UN emissary, Gunnar Jaring. But Israel had a tough leader, Golda Meir, who rejected them "out of hand". True, this led to the Yom-Kippur war and the deaths of some 2000 young Israelis, not to mention the tens of thousands of Egyptians and Syrians, but it certainly screwed the defeatists.) Sharon will not accept the Syrian proposal, because that might lead to peace. And peace with the Syrians would mean the return of the Golan and the dismantling of all the settlements there. That would be awful. It would also be a dangerous precedent for the Palestinians. Bashar Assad, the fox in lion's clothing, wants to renew the negotiations at the point where they were broken off by Ehud Barak. At the time, Barak just managed to save himself from the threat of peace in the nick of time. Assad Sr. would accept nothing less than regaining the shores of Lake Tiberias (the June 4, 1967 line) instead of staying ten meters short of it (the 1949 line). Barak couldn't stand the idea of Assad dipping his long feet in the waters of this lake. Now Assad Jr. is hinting that he is prepared to forgo the pleasure. He can dip his long feet somewhere else. Perhaps in the waters of the Euphrates. Sharon will not repeat the mistake of Barak, who barely extricated himself by the skin of his teeth. He will not start negotiations at all. And indeed, if Assad is weak, why negotiate with him? Catch 23: If the Arabs are strong, you can't make peace with them. You have to defeat them. And if the Arabs are weak, there is no need to make peace with them. Why offer them anything? Catch 24: If the Arabs say they want war, you have to believe them. But if the Arabs say they want peace, they are clearly lying. And how can you make peace with liars? ***

[] How to keep Vanunu from telling what everybody knows

[These days both mass circulation papers, Ma'ariv and Yediot Aharonot write a lot about what life Mordechai Vanunu can expect after his release from the 18-year prison sentence. Rayna Moss, a years-long anti-nuclear activist sent us the following translation.]

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Atomic Problem Yediot Ahronot (p. 4) by Ronen Bergman -- Jan. 8

Three years ago I went to Shikma Prison in Ashkelon to interview an Arab prisoner. And there, in the middle of the well-tended garden made by the prisoners, I saw him-Mordechai Vanunu.

For a short moment I saw a bucolic scene, as if taken from some other reality. A serene, smilin g man, sitting on a bench in a garden and reading Nietzsche in English. I approached him and extended my hand. Vanunu smiled and shook my han d weakly. "Pleased to meet you, my name is Ronen," I said. "I'm Motti," the most confined prisoner in the State of Israel replied. Before we c ould continue to talk, screaming wardens rushed over and grabbed him away from what could have been an exclusive interview.

Just like the picture in the garden was misleading, so too, those who think that the war over I srael's ambiguity has died down, are misled. This war is being waged full steam on a number of fronts. One of the most important is abou t to flare up. Mordechai Vanunu, the atomic spy who revealed Israel's nuclear secrets to the entire world, is about to complete the 18 year se ntence he was given and to go free.

Concern that Vanunu Will Want Revenge

The Defense Ministry and the Justice Ministry began three years ago to think what to do about V anunu. As Yehiel Horev, in charge of security at the Defense Ministry and responsible for nuclear ambiguity, says, Vanunu is like a bull who has already tasted blood. He has never expressed remorse, he has only continued to justify his acts, he has accrued great anger toward the State of Israel for imprisoning him under harsh conditions for so many years, and according to some versions, has lost his reason in the cou rse of those long years.

The security establishment is almost certain that if Vanunu is allowed to go on his way, he wil l leave Israel (as he has said he will do, in order to teach history in the US) and begin to sing. To prevent this future problem from coming true, the Justice Ministry and Defense Ministry are examining a number of possibilities, all based on the emergency regulations. One possibility, not highly likely, came up in the first meetings, and that is to put Vanunu under administrative detention, as is done to Palestinian wanted men.

This is problematic from a number off aspects. First, such a move would arouse great protest in Israel and in the world, since this would mean continuing his imprisonment, which was completed in full. Not only that, since the secur ity establishment does not believe the danger Vanunu poses will pass one day, this means he would have to be held in detention until his dying da y.

Another possibility, more likely, is based on the regulation that allows the interior minister to stop a person from leaving the country. Vanunu could then be released tomorrow, and if he again lets his tongue loose, he can be t ried and thrown into jail.

The last time use was made of this Draconian measure was when the previous interior minister, E li Yishai, prevented the head of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Raed Salah, from leaving the country because of the investigation against the Islamic Movement.

The State Attorney's Office is considering making use of another regulation as well, making it possible to restrict the movements of somebody to a specific geographical location in Israel. Use of this rule was made in the past again st extreme right wing activists and underworld figures.

Why Are They Scared of Him? Why, actually, are they so afraid of Vanunu? The whole issue of nuclear ambiguity is in fact a g ame of let's pretend, carried to absurdity. On the face of it, what we have is the most classified secret in the State of Israel. In practice, anyone on the globe who is interested, thinks he knows not only what Israel has, but also where exactly it is storing it.

Yehiel Horev considers himself as standing on the front line, keeper of the seal of Israel's de epest secrets. In closed forums, Horev compares Israel's ambiguity to a glass of water. "My job," Horev said, "is to ensure that the water doesn't spill over the glass. Up until the Vanunu affair, the water was at a very low level. The affair caused the water l evel to rise significantly and caused Israel great damage, but the water still didn't overflow. If we let certain people act in the matte r, the water will spill." Horev watches the "water level" and every year publishes a report with an updated "ambiguity index."

As Horev sees it, the very preoccupation with the Vanunu affair will reawaken the whole nuclear issue for an international debate. All this interest, Horev says, makes the water level rise and therefore affects state security. To mini mize the damage, Vanunu must be silenced. The very thought that the nuclear spy will talk on television the day after his release, is Horev's nightmare.

The gist of the problem, Horev believes, is not that he will reveal some detail or another. Van unu, after all, has already said everything he knows. The Americans, so the security establishment claims, deliberately ignore what Israel does, in exchange for a promise given them back during Golda Meir's time, to maintain ambiguity.

This is getting harder and harder: Horev claims that today there are already a great many items , such as certain kinds of computers, that Israel finds hard to obtain because of its refusal to sign the NPT. Relinquishing ambiguity will ma ke this impossible. Horev says that the principle of ambiguity is even convenient for Egypt: breaking this principle will obligate Egypt to cool its relations with Israel even further.

On the other hand, other experts contend that since in any case this is a game of let's pretend , in which the Americans look away from what is under their noses, then only an official declaration by Israel about its capabilities can dispel the nuclear ambiguity. The fact is, these experts say-among them Dr. Avner Cohen, who wrote the most comprehensive book on Israel' s nuclear history-Vanunu went public in 1986 and even this didn't completely dispel the nuclear ambiguity.

The battle over Vanunu's fate becomes more significant in light of recent developments in the M iddle East. Iranian consent, at least on the surface, to stop enriching uranium and to sign the convention, along with Libya's abandoning its ef forts to obtain such weapons, puts Israel with its back to the wall. Today Israel is even considering deviating from its usual policy and sig ning the convention against the proliferation of chemical weapons, just so long as it does not have to sign the convention against the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

This is How the Nuclear Spy Can Be Restricted

Yedioth Ahronoth (p. 5) by Tova Tzimuki -- On April 21, in 105 days, the gates of Shikma Prison wi ll open and atomic spy Mordechai Vanunu will go free after 18 years. But the closer his release comes, so the confusion and uncertainty in the legal establishment increases.

At this stage, the security establishment is considering an unofficial appeal to State Attorne y Edna Arbel to plan the restrictions that will be imposed on Vanunu. Arbel has not held a discussion on the matter yet, and it is believed it will take place in a month.

"We are facing an unprecedented legal challenge," admit senior legal officials. "The problem is twofold: it is clear to us that any means we take to restrict Vanunu's freedom-after he has paid his debt society-will be examined meti culously by the High Court of Justice and by human rights organizations all over the world."

The legal establishment is considering a "package of restrictions" to prevent Vanunu from conti nuing to reveal the secrets he has. The following are the possible actions that could be taken: 1. Ban on leaving the country. Mordechai would not be able to get a passport on the grounds tha t he still poses a risk to state security. This measure will likely be adopted. 2. Restricting his movement in Israel. The state may decide that Vanunu can only stay in a cert ain geographic area. This will make it easy to monitor him and know with whom he is meeting. This measure will also likely be taken. 3. Censorship restrictions. The Israeli media may not be allowed to publish interviews with Van unu in which he reveals sensitive information. The likelihood of this measure being taken is high. 4. Administrative detention. The state could leave Vanunu in prison claiming he still endangers security. The likelihood of such an unusual step is low: the security establishment would find it hard to explain to the High Court of Justice why someone who has served his sentence should not be released. In addition, such a step would arouse international protest.

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